(Updated with Cosby tweet) The lawyer who helped Michael Jackson get acquitted of child molestation charges in 2005 will be leading Bill Cosby’s attempt to escape a decade behind bars if found guilty in his criminal case retrial for the alleged 2004 rape of Andrea Constand.
Frequent cable news pundit Tom Mesereau was named today to the much accused Cosby’s new defense team that also includes ex-federal prosecutor Kathleen Bliss and Philadelphia’s Sam Silver. Taking to social media, Cosby himself heralded the team on Monday morning:
Attorneys Tom Mesereau (LA), Kathleen Bliss (NV), and Sam Silver (PA) pic.twitter.com/dnzgu9sgwo
— Bill Cosby (@BillCosby) August 21, 2017
The announcement by Cosby and his reps comes a day before a pretrial hearing in Norristown, PA that will formally see now ex-Cosby lawyers Brian McMonagle and Angela Agrusa exit the defense team in the only criminal case that the once beloved actor faces. The lead lawyer for much of the first trial, the often acerbic McMonagle formally filed paperwork early this month to leave the revolving-door defense team. Deadline reported news of McMonage intent to exit back in early July. Surviving various purges, the Philly lawyer had been with Cosby since charges were first laid in late 2015.
The Los Angeles-based Agrusa, who filed her motion to withdraw last week, will continue to serve as Cosby’s leading civil attorney as The Cosby Show co-creator faces several cases nationwide. Making a total cleaning of the house, Deliah Vinzon and Ryan Austin also said they will be leaving Cosby’s side before the retrial starts this fall.
With a mistrial declared June 17 on the three felony charges of second-degree aggravated indecent assault that could see Cosby in jail for up to 10 years if found guilty, the new team named today will have some time before the retrial. which is set to start November 6 in Norristown.
McMonagle Agrusa and the others now join the likes of Marty Singer, who left his longtime client in October 2015 plus former Assistant U. S. Attorney Christopher Tayback and Washington D.C-based Monique Pressley as former members of Cosby’s legal team
Over 60 women have claimed in recent years that Cosby sexually assaulted or drugged them, with some incidents occurring as far back the late 1960s. He is standing trial on criminal charges in Pennsylvania because the Keystone State has a much longer statute of limitations on sex crimes than most jurisdictions, but several other civil cases around the nation. Cosby was arraigned December 30, 2015 in the criminal case and released on $1 million bail.
Despite admitting in depositions more than a decade ago to giving Constand Benadryl pills on the night of the alleged assault in his Philadelphia-area mansion nearly 13-years ago Cosby always has insisted that the encounter with the ex-Temple University employee was consensual.
As the first trial earlier this summer made clear, Constand and the Montgomery County District Attorney’s office see that differently.